On Friday at 4:53pm, Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit against Washington State Democrat Speaker of the House Frank Chopp in Thurston County Superior Court for a variety of campaign finance violations committed by Speaker Chopp’s campaign during his 2016 re-election campaign (see original Superior Court complaint linked here). The complaints identified in the lawsuit included the following specific violations of Washington State’s campaign finance laws by Chopp:
- Failure to timely disclose monetary contributions received to the Public Disclosure Commission (violation of RCW 42.17A.240)
- Failure to timely return an over-limit contribution received from the Puyallup Indian Tribe (violation of RCW 42.17A.405)
- Failure to timely disclose expenditures including campaign debt to the Public Disclosure Commission (violation of RCW 42.17A.240)
In addition to these complaints, Speaker Chopp was forced to return $1, 287.13 to his campaign as refunds of improper (illegal) reimbursements he had received from his campaign.
These violations were brought to the attention of the Public Disclosure Commission and the Attorney General’s office in a complaint filed by this author on December 28, 2016 (linked here). Additional violations of Washington State’s campaign finance laws were identified in the original complaint, but Speaker Chopp’s response to the Public Disclosure Commission (linked here) was apparently adequate in explaining or justifying the additional questionable campaign finance actions.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson campaigned on a promise to more rigorously enforce Washington State’s campaign finance laws. When not litigating against Donald Trump, he appears to be fulfilling this campaign promise. This recent court action is one of many he has filed. Here is a recent list of others:
- Failed Democrat candidate for the Legislature (19th District) Theresa Purcell. (see complaint linked here)
- Failed Democrat candidate for the Thurston County Commission Jim Cooper (see complaint linked here).
- Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council Director Jay Manning (see complaint linked here and the rapid $4800 settlement linked here)
- Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman (see AG press release about lawsuit filed against Wyman here and the $10,000 settlement here).
Although the recent lawsuit filed against Frank Chopp and Jay Manning were not publicized in the same manner as Kim Wyman’s lawsuit, at least it appears that Bob Ferguson is finding politicians closer to home than just Donald Trump to target for litigation. It should also be expected that Speaker Chopp and his treasurer are going to be a little more careful with their campaign finance paperwork in 2018.
OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.” IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE. IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT. IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.” UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED…
Lawsuit and other pending complaints:
December 19, 2016 -AG lawsuit against Theresa Purcell (Thurston Superior Court #16-2-04959-34)
Background articles on Attorney General lawsuits: